I have a FaceBook account (I also have one for my book, so check it out at https://www.facebook.com/UnfinishedBusiness) and through FaceBook I have been introduced to some wonderful dog and animal pages.  Through these pages I’ve learned about the Rainbow Bridge.

For those who don’t know, the Rainbow Bridge is said to be where our beloved pets go when the die.  They wait for us, at the Rainbow Bridge, and when we do finally meet them, we cross over to the other side together.

I like the Rainbow Bridge, in theory.  Then I got to thinking about it and realized what a pain in the butt it’s got to be for everyone involved.

I’ve had seven pets in my life…so far.  Eight if you count Missy, who was really my mom’s dog, but I ran a close second for favorite.  Six dogs and one cat.  Both of my dogs now are on the older side and since I’m only in my 40’s, I suspect I’ll have a few more dogs and cats before I kick the bucket.

Can you imagine the crowd I’ll have waiting for me?

And how bored they’ll probably be?

Sure, the poem says they play and run while waiting, but I know my pets, and not all of them will be interested in that.

Brutus, my very first dog, who sadly died at the young age of three, while I was in Kindergarten, (I think), was a stud.  Because my father was a man’s man, he refused to have Brutus snipped, probably partly because it wasn’t cheap, but mostly because it would be emotionally scarring to both dog and dad.

In the early 70’s, pets roamed our neighborhood freely.  Brutus never ran away, he just went on procreating excursions.  He’d be gone for a few days and then come prancing home, clearly satisfied.  Fast forward several months later and our neighbors would stop by to tell us, sometimes in less than kind words, that he was again, a daddy.  The dog was a ho. Unless fornication runs rapid at the Rainbow Bridge, he ain’t there.  No question about it.

Up next is, or was, Missy.  Missy, like I said, was really my mother’s dog.  She didn’t like men, in particular my dad, and really, didn’t like anyone who might get in the way of her relationship with my mother. Missy liked me, but I think that was only because I fed her.  I knew my place with Missy, as did the rest of the world and I’m certain she would not have the patience to sit at that bridge and wait for me since my mother is already gone.  And I’m going to guess she didn’t wait there for mom, either.  If she did, the rest of the animals would have run in fear.  She was a little toy poodle, but had the growl of a grizzly bear.

During the Missy years, I had a boyfriend whose parents made him break up with me.  I was sad.  It was high school.  There was drama.  My neighbors lab had puppies.  My dad felt bad that I was sad so I got a puppy.  Bandit was a sweet girl, but sadly, my parents divorced and I couldn’t keep her.  I felt screwed, losing the boyfriend, fearful I was losing my dad, and then losing the dog.  We gave Bandit to a neighbor and I got to spend time with her when I could.  Shortly after, we moved and I barely saw her.  Years later, I went by her house and she was outside, in the fenced in backyard.  A male friend of mine went up to the fence and she barked up a storm.  I hesitated, but walked up too and Bandit immediately stopped barking, jumped up on the fence and wagged her tail.  She remembered me. I felt elated and guilty at the same time.

They say dogs never forget their first owners.  I don’t know if Bandit had a good life, but I know it started out with a lot of love from me.  I tried to see her often after I realized she remembered me, and I hope I gave her love.  If there is a Rainbow Bridge, and Bandit had a good life, I suspect she’s waiting or has already left with the people I gave her to.  If not, then I hope she will let me love her for eternity.

Next up is Magnum.  This was my early twenties to early thirties child.  I was single and he was like a son to me.  He went where I went, slept with me, and was my best friend. He was the best judge of character I’ve ever met.  He was my protector, my buddy, my confidante. We were together for 10 years. Sadly, I had to let him go because of bone cancer and to this day, it still breaks my heart.

Magnum was devoted and loved me more than I can ever understand.  I would like to think he’s waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, but I suspect he just goes and checks to see if I’ve arrived every so often.  First of all, my mom is there, and he loved her, so it’s quite possible he’s hanging out with her.  Then again, Missy is with her, too and she probably scares the heck out of my old German Shepherd.  And Magnum liked his freedom.  He loved walks, or drag mommy’s, and would bolt off whenever he could, until he got sick.  I’m sure this guy is out prancing around, on a crazy sniff-fest in Heaven. Imagine the centuries of smells that guy has? I can’t compete with that.  He’s so not hanging out at the bridge waiting for me.

While I had Magnum, I acquired a husband, two daughters and a cat.  I wasn’t a cat person, but quickly became one.  Callie didn’t like the girls (long story, another blog) but she loved me.  We had her for 13 years and in her last few years, while I stayed home, she became an appendage.  Unfortunately, at about 17ish, her old body had failed her, and I had to let her go.

Callie would not be at the bridge.  First of all, she was not a fan of most other animals so that would be an issue for her, and secondly, Callie didn’t wait for anyone.  I suspect she’s got a seat on God’s lap and if I happen to wander by, she may lift her head a little and acknowledge me.  Maybe.  Actually, I believe she would come with me, but would find a happy balance between God and me.

About a year or so after I acquired the husband, daughters and cat, I also adopted Gracie, one of my two current doggies.  Gracie and I didn’t bond like I wanted initially.  It had only been a year since Magnum went to walk over the bridge and go smell, and I still wasn’t able to bond with other dogs like I had with him.

Eventually Gracie and I found a place of mutual love, albeit a little distant.  She was a daddy’s girl and I was around to let her in and out. Daddy began to travel, a lot, and I started staying home more, and suddenly, Gracie and I became pals.  Pals grew into best friends with a strong emotional connection and a mutual respect for the loyalty of one another.  Gracie and I became true dog and human extensions of each other.  We still our.  Magnum was loyal and I still love that dog like no other, but Gracie and I share something special too, it’s just different.  There is enough love in our hearts for more than one pet and just because we loved one like crazy, doesn’t mean another can touch our hearts in their own special way, too.

Gracie is about 15 and for a big dog, that’s no small feat.  She’s losing her hearing and has a little bit of anxiety.  She rarely leaves my side and I feel guilty when I have to leave hers.  Gracie is also a couch potato.  It happens to Greyhounds as they age.  Gracie will, most certainly, be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.  It’s not that she’s more loyal than my other animals.  It’s that she’s too lazy. If the bridge is comfy, and she’s got a nice spot in the sun, she’ll hang there forever.  I imagine her being the first one I see.

Larka, our other pup right now, came to us from neighbors and really struggled to be a part of our family at first.  For a few weeks.  She was an outdoor dog and we are an indoor dog family.  She had to be forced to sleep inside.  Once she adjusted, she blossomed and now firmly believes we have furniture for her comfort.

Larka likes to wander, smelling whatever she can, and chasing whatever comes her way.  If she’s not lying down, that is.  Larka may or may not be at the bridge.  She will intend to be there, but if someone has a bone, a treat or if she sees a mouse, she’s outta there. I completely believe she will find me though, once she’s got whatever it is she’s looking for.   Plus, she loves Gracie and will want to stick by her side.  Oh, and she and Callie the cat actually got along, so she’ll hang with her, too.  So Larka may end up being in a seat next to God.  I just hope it’s got a comfy cushion.

I hope there really is a Rainbow Bridge, and I hope I will once again see the animals who became a part of my life, a part of me.  I can’t imagine a God like mine would simply allow them to die and not be in Heaven.  Animals are innately innocent.  They do what they do because of how they’re raised, or to stay alive.  They are not bad by nature and if for no other reason, this is why I believe they are in Heaven.  And I am certain I will have a farm full waiting for me when I get there.

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